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Nasal hygiene in adults

Published on June 5, 2024 at 8:00 / Updated on June 21, 2024 at 8:01

Usually, the mucus produced by the nasal mucosa throughout the day is eliminated, quite naturally, as we swallow our saliva or blow our noses. Occasionally, congestion caused by allergies, irritation or infection prevents mucus from draining properly.

Using a saline solution to irrigate the nasal passages may help improve symptoms associated with rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages). It can also enhance one's quality of life by eliminating mucus and irritants. Rinses can be performed in older children and adults, either seated or standing.

Use a device that delivers a large amount of solution (more than 100 mL) such as a squeezable bottle (e.g., Sinus Rinse) or a Neti pot. Reusable devices should be cleaned thoroughly after each use to avoid any contamination. They should not be shared with others.

Rinses can be performed up to three times daily, if necessary, but the frequency should be decreased if nasal irritation or dryness occurs.

Steps for performing a nasal cleanse

  • Tilt head downwards over a sink or in the shower;
  • Tilt head slightly towards the left;
  • Irrigate the right nostril with approximately 120 mL;
  • Breathe normally through the mouth;
  • Repeat in the same nostril if secretions are still present;
  • Blow nose gently to prevent the solution from blocking the ears and causing discomfort;
  • Repeat the process on the other side by tilting the head towards the right;
  • Adjust your head position so the solution does not go down the back of the throat or into the ears.

Homemade saline solution

You can make your own saline solution, but be sure to comply with the specified ingredients and amounts. Here is a very easy recipe:

Salt (NaCl):10 mL (2 teaspoons)
Baking soda:2.5 mL (½ teaspoon)
Sterile water or boiled water that has cooled until lukewarm:1000 mL (4 cups)

The solution can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or for 24 hours at room temperature in an airtight glass container. To avoid a tingling sensation during irrigation, it is suggested to adjust the temperature of the solution so that it is lukewarm.

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